Posted in Family, Home & Garden, Reading Reviews, writing

From Noah’s Ark to Yellow Submarine

busted pipes
an unwelcome sight beneath our home at two in the morning

I jinxed myself, no doubt about it. When I wrote last week about our growing tribe of pets and animals, I ended by saying I hoped we wouldn’t be floating away like Noah’s Ark. Just a couple nights later–Saturday night, to be specific, or rather, the “wee hours” of Sunday morning–Keoni woke me to say there was a distinct sound of gushing water beneath us. Oh, that can’t be good.

Bundled up in bathrobes and sweatshirts, we emerged from our back door with a flashlight, stepped over the rivulets of water streaming out from underneath the trailer, and pulled the skirting off the side beneath our bathroom. Sure enough, the main water line was in free-flow.

flooded
the remains of our “lake,” Sunday afternoon

Our favorite neighbor, Bill, is also the maintenance guy for our trailer park, so Keoni was knocking on his door as early as we deemed decent. (The sun wasn’t quite up, but the sky was light… All three of us realized afterward that the nation’s clocks had been set back during the night, so we really woke him at an earlier hour than we’d intended…)

Bill answered the door in his pajamas; Keoni greeted him brightly with the observation that it was Sunday at our house, and he just wanted to see if it were Sunday at Bill’s house too. Oh, and by the way… Our trailer was now sitting in a veritable lake, and could Bill come take a look?

Times like this, we’re glad that our home is propped up on cement blocks ABOVE the ground. We’re also glad we’re on a well, and not paying for all the water that was suddenly surrounding us. (Not even feeling guilty; it’s headed straight back to the water table it came from.)

Neighbor Bill, prepared to swim beneath our trailer

Keoni whipped up some French Toast for all of us while Bill crawled underneath to wrestle with our pipes (and modeled his sense of humor along with the life-jacket I jokingly fetched for him)… Before noon we had running water IN the house again, and our moat gradually began to recede.

I’ve had the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” song stuck in my head ever since. That’s absurd, of course, since our home was mercifully NOT “beneath the waves”–but somehow that song is sticking with me anyway. I think it’s not even about the flooding.

I have (at long last!) begun writing a book. A book of my own—which is a topic we’ve talked about every time I’ve been commissioned to ghost-write an e-book for someone else. Hell (we keep saying), if I can knock out a book on astrology or vitamins or the Foreign Exchange system (topics in which I really have no interest or background—just solid research skills), why am I not writing the book I want to write? So now I am. Working title: “Your Backyard Homestead: Sustainable Living, Wherever You Live.”

And still humming “Yellow Submarine”…

“…and we live a life of ease; every one of us has all we need…” I’ve always associated the phrase “life of ease” with affluence, but that’s not necessarily so. After all, I’m paying the bills by doing the one thing that comes most easily to me: wrangling words. And I get to spend my days in this home I love (moat or no), with my husband and our kids (and the cat and the ferret and the chickens and the mice)… I love my life. I am happy. No, more than that. I am joyful. The official U.S. “poverty line” is still a target way above our heads, but we have all we need. And right there we have the heart and the core of my book!

“…and our friends are all onboard; many more of them live next door…” I’ve been reading Eric Weiner’s book, The Geography of Bliss. It’s a humorous and insightful look at the nature of happiness, and the things that actually make people happy. He observes, among other things, that people often say “money doesn’t buy happiness,” but then proceed to behave as if it did. Social science studies show that money does affect happiness–but only up to a point. And that point, he explains, is a lowly fifteen thousand dollars a year. With the basics of security (and, interestingly, dignity) taken care of, additional funds don’t translate into additional levels of happiness. This idea, too, fits in with the premise of the book I’m writing.

Weiner also illustrates that many factors that do add to people’s happiness are tied to social interactions. Trust. Family ties. Cultural connections. Community identity. Neighborliness. He observes at one point that when we get money, we tend to use it to buy walls. Richer people are likely to have taller fences, essentially–and poorer people may have known neighbors instead. Which of those things make us happier? Why, the people-connections! When I shared that bit with Keoni, he pointed out that the thought was exactly in line with a blog-post I write a while back, on the Dying(?) Art of Knowing Your Neighbors.  As I think about it, our neighbor-relations have also contributed substantially to our “homesteading” lifestyle—everything from our ability to scrounge and barter to our collaborative efforts last summer in Bill’s vegetable garden.

the rock Keoni painted for Elena Grace, whose favorite song is Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”

The “Yellow Submarine” song, after all, isn’t about getting overwhelmed or swept away by flood. It’s about living joyfully among other people in a state of satisfaction. Small wonder if that’s been playing in my head all week.

Come to think of it, even Noah’s Ark (the original “swept away by water” story) ended with a Rainbow of Promise.

Author:

I am... a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon ("bookworm" doesn't cover it), a raconteur, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a few kinds-of-crazy, a joyful wife, a mom... a list-maker! :)

23 thoughts on “From Noah’s Ark to Yellow Submarine

  1. When I was a kid we had a cookbook called ‘Full and Plenty’ – it was a real cookbook with lots of recipes but each section started with a story of Maura Lafferty’s (the cook/writer) childhood. Now the stories were what my mother used to call grá mo chroí – which means love of my heart but is a euphemism in Ireland for anything very sentimental – anyway sentimental or not I loved it and always thought it was a great idea. I’m saying this because I think it’d be a great way for you to write your book – embed the hints and tricks and recipes in your fantastic real-life stories. Your stories are great and not a bit grá mo chroí – except in a good way! You may already have fixed on a style but I thought I’d suggest it in case it was useful to you :) Best of luck with it and I’ll definitely buy a copy!

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    1. A spot-on suggestion! And precisely how this thing seems to be coming together… Sort of an extended and expanded version of my blogging! Though (perhaps?) with a bit more focus…

      And funny you mention the cookbook—we’re also talking about a companion-cookbook (by Keoni, naturally) with recipes using home-grown items, substitution-ideas for when you don’t have what’s called for, and (of course) more stories… We’re having FUN. :)

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    1. But of course! (The more I think about it, the more I think this book is going to read–and look!–quite a lot like this blog!)

      And of course–first proofs will go to my Ma! :)

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  2. I absolutely adore “Iz”‘s rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. I also remember our own flooding moments. NEver fun. Glad it was joyfully resolved and the life jacket was funny (good neighbor you got there!).

    :)

    Congrats on the book. I know it will be a good read.

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  3. Love this post! In fact, it’s inspired me to write about something for my blog. You get muse points for the day! Woo hoo!

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  4. I’m glad you have running water inside (that’s a good thing.) Congrats on your decision to write a book. It’s something you know a lot about and have a passion for, so I’m sure it’ll be a blast!

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  5. Hopefully the French toast were satisfying :-) , glad ot know water is now ok. And yes, it’s true : happiness is not about money, but “It’s about living joyfully among other people in a state of satisfaction.”
    robert

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  6. So glad that you AND your home were above the water line, when the water main broke. When I first saw the picture at the top of the post, I was SO afraid that was IN your house.

    And, of course, SUPER on the book idea. Best of luck as you work on it. By the way, the author I shared with you a while back, Anne Lamott, has a new book out this week that I think we both would really like. Here’s a link…
    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/help-thanks-wow-anne-lamott/1112448441?ean=9781594631290

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